Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
As I have been addressing in my sermons and also my bulletin columns, the Church is facing a grave situation. While I appreciate the thanks for my words, I only ask that these words not be empty. We need to do penance and reparation. I understand that we may think that this isn’t fair, that this isn’t our responsibility, while we may continue to be angry. I even, on some level, understand why some may want to leave the Church. However, we must stay because our faith is not in the laity, priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, the pope. Instead, our faith is in Jesus Christ, and he never has and will never let us down.
So I am asking each of us to do penance. When others are not willing to pray, or when others are not willing to do penance, we must do this for them. And we do this because we love the Church. Do a penance of your own choosing, or I suggest the following: the daily Rosary for clergy and abuse victims, a weekly Holy Hour of Reparation, observing the Friday Abstinence all year (no meat), more frequent attendance at Mass, do good works around the parish or your neighborhood, and most importantly pray each day for the Holy Father, the bishops, and for priests. If we do these things, I am confident that they will help the Church on some small level. Our anger will only be fruitful if we do something fruitful with it. Anger is never an end in itself, but rather an emotion that drives us to either do irrational things or to improve some injustice.
I am confident that each of you will respond to this with great generosity because we all love the Church. Even in the face of great scandal, impurity, raw ambition without conscience, and grave selfishness, the Church herself remains pure. This is the great mystery of the Church and the love that God has for us.
Always remember that the number of good and faithful priests always outnumber those that cause grave scandal. Even out of those that Our Lord Himself chose, one chose to betray Him, one chose to deny Him, and all but one ran and hid on that night of the Last Supper. Priests can at times be weak, but they are generally very generous and seek to model the Good Shepherd. So please pray for them daily and support. Be patient with them. Through our penance and prayers, the Lord will purify the Church. The Church will then be a position to be able to lead the entirety of society in the protection of children. As this is not an isolated issue only to the Catholic Church, but a systemic scandal in our schools, sports, Hollywood, and our families.
One final note. Recently, someone asked me about the status of the Sacraments of a priest who has sinned grievously. The Church tells us, going back to the Donatist Controversy in the sixth century, that the Sacraments work by ‘ex opere operato’ and not ‘ex opere operantis.’ This principle means that so long as one is a valid priest, has the right intention, and uses rites given to us by the Church, that the Sacraments are always valid. They do not depend upon his personal sanctity or whether he is free from mortal sin or not. I hope this helps! Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!